Published on: February 2021
24-Hour Economy Strategy
Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (15:19:39):
My question is addressed to the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney. Will the Minister update the House on the 24-hour economy and how this is creating jobs?
Mr STUART AYRES (PenrithMinister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney) (15:19:49):
— I thank the member for North Shore for her question. It is a continuation of this theme around events but also taking full advantage of every hour in the day. Sydney has no doubt been on quite a lengthy journey when it comes to fully embracing the 24-hour economy. After the election in 2019 we went through a process in this Parliament with the creation of a joint select committee comprising members of all sides of politics across both Chambers. That committee put together a fantastic report and made a number of recommendations to the Government about fully embracing the 24-hour economy. One of the actions that came off the back of that was the roll back of the lockout restrictions across the Sydney CBD. The committee also proposed that the Government should take an additional 12 months to evaluate the conditions in Kings Cross before making a further decision.
Today the Government has announced that the restrictions in Kings Cross will be removed from early March, bringing Kings Cross into line with the remainder of the Sydney CBD. This builds on the work that we completed last year with the launch of our 24-hour Economy Strategy, which is really about spreading risk across the city but also making sure that the night economy is not just an alcohol economy. It is about giving people a diverse range of activities and opportunities to get out, enjoy themselves and make an economic contribution across 24 hours of the day. We want places like Kings Cross to be diverse, dynamic and safe. We believe the conditions we have been able to set over the past 12 months have allowed us to make this decision and to go forward with a degree of confidence.
We have also built on the 24-hour Economy Strategy by making changes to our liquor and licensing Acts, which allows us to assess the cumulative impact of new venues and new licences. If there are too many licences in a particular location or too many large licences we can make a decision to ensure that we have the balance right. That is why we have the opportunity to go forward in Kings Cross with a strong degree of confidence. We also announced today the appointment of our 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, Michael Rodrigues, at the end of the month. He is currently the chair of the Night Time Industries Association and he has been the executive director of Time Out. He comes from a legal background and is an incredibly well-respected representative of the industry. He has been able to bring together many, many stakeholders across the entire sector and is a natural choice to take on this role.
I am looking forward to working with Michael and I know that other members of this Parliament will be looking forward to working with him on not just what happens here in the Sydney CBD but right across metropolitan Sydney and out into regional New South Wales. The 24-hour economy issue is not just a Sydney issue. It is about activating communities and making sure that those communities are rich, dynamic and diverse and, importantly, that they continue to be safe. We are all looking forward to seeing Michael deliver on that 24‑hour Economy Strategy and continuing to unlock the economic potential that exists in so many hours of the day.
It would be remiss of me to touch on the history of how we have got to this place without recognising particularly the Kelly family, who suffered an unbelievable tragedy but who have been able to do so many good things. I say to the Kelly family that what they have been able to do over the past few years has not been about recognition of the tragic loss of their son's life—there is nothing we can do to take that back—but they have been able to demonstrate to this city, to this State and, indeed, to the country a celebration of Thomas' life and a demonstration of what a community can do when it cares for each other. The consistent message that has come from that family I believe has fundamentally changed this city. It has allowed us to look at ourselves in a different way and it has completely changed the way in which we approach the issue of alcohol consumption.
The work that the Kelly family has done tirelessly over a number of years has led us to this point, a point where we have a safer, more dynamic city—a city that is ready to take its place on the world stage and to do so by caring for every single one of its citizens and those people from around the country and around the world who choose to visit here. We simply could not have got to this point without the amazing dedication and leadership of the Kelly family. We are a better city because of what they have been able to do.
I concur with the Minister in relation to his comments about the Kelly family, with whom I have also had some dealings.